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20 Quick and Easy Dinners You Can Cook With 20 Minutes

20 Quick and Easy Dinners You Can Cook With 20 Minutes

After long days at work or ferrying kids to and from play dates, activities and school, I seldom have the time or the energy to figure out dinner. I enjoy cooking for the family but with a never-ending to-do list, the last thing you want to be faced with is: “What’s for dinner?”

I often feel that I need an extra day to get through the week. However, when my daughter was born, I started doing weekly meal plans and it has helped me immensely to put healthy meals on the table — even on days when I was sleep deprived and exhausted. I shop accordingly and it takes the guesswork out of preparing weeknight dinners. I often do part of the preparation on weekends, such as chopping vegetables or making sauces which can be frozen or roasting a whole chicken to use through the week.

So, here are 20 of my favorite speedy, easy, delicious, healthy and child-friendly dinner recipes that I keep handy when planning meals:

1. White Chicken Chilli Soup

Delicious-White-Chicken-Chili-Recipe-on-lilluna.com-chili-soup

    With the weather turning colder, a steaming hot bowl of soup is just the comfort I need after a long, crazy day. Children  enjoy it, though you might want to leave out the green chilies if your family doesn’t like the heat. And what’s more, it’s a one pot recipe which means less washing up! That ticks all the boxes for me.

    2. Veggie Polenta Mini Pizza

    polenta-pizza-420

      This is even quicker if you have pre-made pesto at home. Add toppings of your choice and enjoy a healthy pizza dinner.

      3. 10 Minute Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

      black bean and corn quessadillas

        I use whole wheat or corn tortillas for quesadillas. Then, I make the filling on a weekend and freeze batches for later use. You can substitute black beans for your preferred protein and add other veggies too. (Red pepper also works well.)

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        4. Easy Chicken and Couscous Skillet Dinner

        Easy-Chicken-and-Cous-Cous-Skillet-Dinner-00

          Couscous cooks quickly so it is a favorite staple of mine for weeknight meals. This recipe uses jumbo or Israeli couscous and rotisserie chicken. Or, you could simply use the leftovers from your Sunday roast.

          5. Tomato, Spinach & Feta Frittata

          tomatofritatta2

            This popular family breakfast or brunch makes a fantastic weeknight dinner option. The thought of salty feta and sweet, juicy tomatoes with the garlicky spinach makes my mouth water. And using a cast iron skillet means it’s a one-pan dish!

            6. Prawn And Spinach Spaghetti

            prawn and spinach spaghetti

              I love this recipe as I have most of these ingredients at home so it’s really handy towards the end of the week when my fridge is almost empty. I use whole-wheat spaghetti and frozen prawns in my version. And if I’ve run out of spinach I just substitute with fresh basil.

              7. Tuna and White Bean Pita

              white bean and tuna pitas

                This super low effort recipe is unbelievably easy. My 4-year-old can make this meal. It is a wholesome and tasty store cupboard recipe that your kids will savor. It involves no cooking, just opening a few cans and assembling your meal.

                8. Salmon Skewers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

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                salmon_kebabs_07

                  Salmon and cucumber are a classic combination. This recipe can be served with any grain of your choice or a simple salad that you whip up while the salmon is cooking. You can also add some veggies to the skewers.

                  9. Singapore Fried Rice

                  singapore fried rice

                    I love Asian food and this quick fried rice has become a staple in my house because it’s a meal by itself. I usually have cooked leftover rice in the fridge so this is really a quick meal. You do need day old cold rice for it; otherwise, it’ll become soggy and sticky. You can also add leftover chicken or even bacon. Enjoy!

                    10. Super Quick Fish Curry

                    fish curry brown rice

                      Fish is my favorite for quick meals as it’s healthy and takes very little time to cook. I always have a jar of Thai curry paste and coconut milk lying around in my cupboard, so this is a no-brainer, really. You can substitute fish with a protein of your choice. The coconut milk makes it mildly spicy but adds less paste if you want it milder.

                      11. Shells & Cheese (with Bacon & Peas)

                      bacon and peas

                        Children relish Mac and cheese. But on a school night, who has the time to make a batch from scratch? Here is a cheat’s version — no roux, no baking, just pasta in cheese sauce. I add garlic to mine and use low-fat milk and skip the butter. Also, I use whatever cheese I have on hand and whole-wheat pasta — but go ahead and indulge if you like.

                        12. Vegan Sweet Pepper and Mushroom Soba Noodle Stir Fry

                        vegan-sweet-pepper-mushroom-soba-noodle-stir-fry-close

                          I like to have a vegetarian dinner at least twice a week but feel free to add meat of your choice to it. You can use any vegetables you have for this recipe. In fact, it’s a great way to use up vegetables at the end of the week. Leave out the Sambal Olek (spicy chili sauce) if you don’t like spice.

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                          13. Simple Yet Scrumptious Rice And Salmon Pilaf

                          salmon-rice-pilaf

                            I use brown basmati for this recipe and cook it by the absorption method. Many people find cooking rice difficult, but it’s not tough. Remember different varieties of rice need different amounts of water to cook.  For instance, brown rice needs more water than white rice. Use measuring cups and with a little practice you’ll be an expert soon.

                            14. 15 Minute Lasagna

                            20 mins meals1

                              Yes indeed! 15 minutes only. With a few clever shortcuts and all in one pan, dinner is served. Isn’t that just perfect?

                              15. Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

                              chicken_caesar_salad_wraps

                                I love tortilla wraps because they are so versatile. I use wholemeal tortillas to make these light yet filling wraps. My child loves these for lunch or dinner so this is my “go-to” recipe — especially when we have roast chicken leftovers.

                                16. Arugula Lentil Salad from Heaven (Vegan)

                                arugula-lentil-salad

                                  I love peppery Arugula (rocket). This healthy recipe combines lentils, nuts and rocket in a delightful salad. Add raisins or sultanas if you wish.

                                  17. 20-Minute Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup

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                                  20-Minute-Cheesy-Chicken-Enchilada-Soup-6

                                    Nothing beats a warm, creamy, spicy soup on a chilly evening. You can use a ready-made enchilada sauce for this recipe, but I recommend you make one on the weekend and have it ready in the fridge when you fancy some soup. The key to quick meals on weeknights is in planning meals and some simple prep. It really doesn’t require much time on the weekend as cooking and freezing full meals, but will make your life much easier.

                                    18. One-Pan Veggie Fajita Pasta

                                    fajita pasta

                                      We adore fajitas and as I set about making some one evening, I realized the tortillas had gone stale. I had everything prepped already and a quick online search landed me this delightful recipe with pasta instead. Saved by google again! Since then it’s part of our family meals. I use whole-wheat pasta. It’s seriously yummy!

                                      19. Easy 20-Minute Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli

                                      teriyaki-chicken-broccoli-tablefortwoblog-5

                                        This is a yummy teriyaki sauce recipe. This is a winning combination but by all means feel free to swap the chicken for other protein of your choice and broccoli with your favorite vegetable. Serve it with brown and wild rice or red rice or a combination of the three for a wholesome meal.

                                        20. Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters

                                        Kale-Sweetpotatoe-and-Quinoa-Fritters_platter-ready-to-eat1

                                          Loaded with the goodness of kale, quinoa and sweet potato, this recipe is a great way to sneak these super foods into your little ones. Serve with a simple green salad for dinner.

                                          Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanasek via picjumbo.com

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                                          Last Updated on October 16, 2018

                                          What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

                                          What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

                                          Are you afraid of being alone?  Do you worry about your physical safety or do you fear loneliness? These are strong negative feelings that can impact your health.

                                          One study found that when older people are socially isolated, there is an increased risk of an earlier death,[1] by as much as 26%.

                                          If you experience loneliness and are worried about your fear of being alone, study these 6 ways to help you find your comfort zone.

                                          But first, the good news!

                                          How many times have you said to yourself, ‘I just can’t wait to be alone’? This might be after a day’s work, an argument with your partner or after a noisy dinner with friends. You need time to be yourself, gather your thoughts, relish the silence and just totally chill out. These are precious moments and are very important for your own peace of mind and mental refreshment.

                                          But for many people, this feeling is not often present and loneliness takes over. As Joss Whedon once said,

                                          ‘Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there’.

                                          Read on and discover how you can exploit being alone to your own advantage and how you can defeat loneliness.

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                                          1. Embrace loneliness

                                          When you are alone, it is important to embrace it and enjoy it to the full.

                                          Wallow in the feeling that you do not have to be accountable for anything you do. Pursue your interests and hobbies. Take up new ones. Learn new skills. Lie on the couch. Leave the kitchen in a mess. The list can go on and on, but finding the right balance is crucial.

                                          There will be times when being on your own is perfect, but then there will be a creeping feeling that you should not be so isolated.

                                          When you start to enjoy being alone, these 10 amazing things will happen.

                                          Once you start feeling loneliness, then it is time to take action.

                                          2. Facebook is not the answer

                                          Have you noticed how people seek virtual contacts instead of a live, face-to-face interaction? It is true that social networking can provide an initial contact, but the chances of that becoming a real life personal contact is pretty slim.

                                          Being wrapped up in a cloud of sharing, liking and commenting (and insulting!) can only increase loneliness.

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                                          When you really want company, no one on Facebook will phone you to invite you out.

                                          3. Stop tolerating unhappy relationships

                                          It is a cruel fact of life that people are so scared of loneliness that they often opt into a relationship with the wrong person.

                                          There is enormous pressure from peers, family and society in general to get married or to be in a stable, long-term relationship. When this happens, people start making wrong decisions, such as:

                                          • hanging out with toxic company such as dishonest or untrustworthy people;
                                          • getting involved with unsuitable partners because of the fear of being alone or lonesome;
                                          • accepting inappropriate behavior just because of loneliness;
                                          • seeking a temporary remedy instead of making a long-term decision.

                                          The main problem is that you need to pause, reflect and get advice. Recognize that your fear of being alone is taking over. A rash decision now could lead to endless unhappiness.

                                          4. Go out and meet people

                                          It was the poet John Donne (1572 – 1631) who wrote:

                                          ‘No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent’.

                                          Human contact is essential to surviving in this world. Instead of wallowing in boredom and sadness, you need to get out as much as possible and seek contacts.

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                                          Being a member of a group, however tenuous, is a great way. So when you are in the gym, at church or simply at a club meeting, exploit these contacts to enlarge your social circle.

                                          There is no point in staying at home all the time. You will not meet any new people there!

                                          Social contacts are rather like delicate plants. You have to look after them. That means telephoning, using Skype and being there when needed.

                                          Take a look at this guide on How to Meet New People and Make Friends with The Best.

                                          5. Reach out to help someone in need

                                          A burden shared is a burden halved.

                                          Dag Hammarskjold was keenly aware of this fact when he said:

                                          ‘What makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one to share my burden but this: I have only my own burden to bear’.

                                          Simply put, it is a two-way street. Helping others actually helps yourself, here’s why.

                                          Reach out to help and people will be there when you need them.

                                          6. Be grateful and count your blessings

                                          Study after study shows that if people show gratitude, they will reap a bountiful harvest. These include a stronger immune system, better health, more positive energy and most important of all, feeling less lonely and isolated.

                                          If you do not believe me, watch the video below, ‘What good is gratitude?’  Now here is the path to hope and happiness:

                                          Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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